Friday, 1 March 2013

128/111 - The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

I bought this book on a whim recently when I was in Waterstones as it was snickered up as the BBC book at bedtime, and seemed like it MIT be interesting and thoughtful.

It's a series of vignettes told by a psychoanalyst based on time with his real life patients. The anecdotes are divided into sections like 'love' and 'lies' and usually include some revelation that Stephen and/or the patient come to during their treatment together.

I found this book really interesting partly because I find the idea of psychoanalysis very odd. If you are undergoing psychoanalysis, you see the analyst several times a week (maybe even every day) and it's the sort of therapy where you sit and talk at the analyst and they don't really respond or offer much to you. Stephen mentions in a couple of places where sessions take place where the patient may say nothing for the entire session. Just silence. Or where the patient might fall asleep. Very odd. However I did find the idea that the therapist is just there to pretty much absorb whatever their patient offers very interesting. Like it's their job to be as non-reactive as possible.

He also occasionally used examples of insight from situations in his own life, which I liked. I really enjoyed his voice, very calming, and in parts very moving.

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